By Emperor of Rome Theodosius I; Emperor of Rome Theodosius I; Freeman, Charles
Examines the pivotal ways that Theodosius's decree mandating a Christian orthodoxy ended debates concerning the nature of God, exploring the explanations why Theodosius's function was once made to seem as a consensual ruling by means of the Council of Constantinople.
summary: Examines the pivotal ways that Theodosius's decree mandating a Christian orthodoxy ended debates concerning the nature of God, exploring the explanations why Theodosius's position was once made to seem as a consensual ruling by means of the Council of Constantinople
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Extra info for A.D. 381 : heretics, pagans, and the dawn of the monotheistic state
The only precedent comes from ancient Egypt when the pharaoh Akhenaten replaced the mass of Egyptian deities with the single sun-god Aten in the fourteenth century BC - and even this policy was quickly reversed by his successors. Theodosius’ decrees were especially startling because less than sixty years earlier, in 313, the emperor Constantine had issued, with his co-emperor Licinius, an Edict of Toleration in which he promised ‘that no one whatsoever should be denied freedom to devote himself either to the cult of the Christians or to such religion as he deems best suited for himself’.
I am not particularly drawn to organised religion but I enjoy many religious activities, especially listening and talking to those who have read widely in spiritual literature, Christian or otherwise. In fact, I believe that a spiritual dimension is part of any healthy mind. It is surely right to reflect on values that go beyond the purely material, and I find the somewhat frenzied denunciations of Richard Dawkins and his supporters simplistic. Human beings have always organised themselves to participate in what can only be called ‘religious’ activities and to speculate on what may or may not lie beyond the material world.
All Theodosius’ immediate predecessors as emperor owed their promotion to the army or to family ties. Constantine had fought his way to power, but his father, Constantius, had been one of Diocletian’s Caesars (deputy emperors). Constantine was succeeded by his three sons, the last of whom, Constantius II, died in 361 and was succeeded in his turn by his cousin, the pagan emperor Julian. Jovian was already a senior officer when he was proclaimed emperor by his troops on the death of Julian, as was Valentinian on Jovian’s death.